Tips For A Successful Job Fair Experience

As we start the new semester off by immediately diving into classes and school activities, Hospitality and Tourism Management students also add another thing to their plates: getting ready for the Spring HTM Career Fair. The HTM Career Fair will be held on Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 in the PMU North Ballroom.

Being one of the top hospitality programs in the nation has it’s benefits.  One of which includes having our very own HTM career center located in Marriott Hall. The career center provides students with services such as job and internship searches. Many company interviews are set up through the career center, which allows students to directly interview with recruiters on campus. Another great resource is our career center coordinator, Janet Glotzbach. She sends out emails on a listserv with countless job and internship opportunities to students, as well as being an important source for recruiter contacts.

It’s essential for students to utilize these resources as a way to prepare for the career fair. It’s also important to keep in mind a few tips:

1) Dress professionally.  First impressions are crucial and that’s the first thing recruiters look for. If you have to question whether or not your skirt is too short or if dying your hair purple the day before the career fair might be unprofessional, then it most likely is.  Go with a clean cut, conservative look if you are unsure.

2) Practice selling.  After the first impressions, it’s up to the students to try to sell themselves as potential job/internship candidates.  Develop the 30-second elevator pitch that summarizes and highlights your previous work experiences and skills.  Don’t rush through your speech, just relax and speak evenly.

3) Be confident and smile.  Most HTM recruiters, or even recruiters for other majors, will be looking for that confident candidate that is sociable and friendly.  Being in the hospitality industry, guests and customers should always be greeted with a smile.  It makes it personable and helps connect people.  No one wants to hire a candidate that radiates a negative or nervous energy.

4) Be prepared.  Utilize the career center and resources that Purdue offers.  Go to mock-interviews to test our your interviewing skills.  Practice in the mirror and see how you’re presenting yourself.  Have your resume reviewed by others and print out several to hand out on the day of the career fair.

5) Last but not least, network, network, network.  Even if you might not be interested in a company, don’t be afraid to go up to the recruiters and talk to them.  Ask about their experiences in the industry, listen to advice on jobs/careers in the future, and make a connection with people from all over the industry because they might be able to help you in the future.

As many freshmen, sophomores, and juniors start their job/internship search, it’ll be important to keep these tips in mind in order to be successful.  It’s good to get a head start in practicing and preparing, it’ll make a noticeable difference when the career fair comes around the corner.  I encourage freshmen and sophomores to attend the HTM Career Fair even if you’re not looking for an internship or job.  Establishing a network as early as possible is the way to go.  As a soon-to-be graduating senior, I’m glad I had the chance to start building my resume during my sophomore year, it’s certainly coming in handy now.

Good luck to everyone attending the careers fairs this semester, as well as the search for internships and jobs!

Best wishes,

— Tiffany Hsu, Senior, Hospitality and Tourism Management

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